US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel and Chinese Defence Minister Chang Wanquan met in Washington on Monday and pledged to strengthen bilateral military cooperation.
    
Hagel said that Washington is committed to a positive and constructive relationship with China. Hagel said that he and Chang wanted to build a sustained, substantive military-to-military relationship to bolster ties between the world's two biggest economies. "Our goal is to build trust between our militaries through cooperation," Hagel said.
    
Chang stressed a similar theme of cooperation with the US in the Asia-Pacific. As part of its goal to build trust between the militaries through cooperation, Hagel said that US for the first time has invited the Chinese Navy to join its largest multilateral naval exercise, RIMPAC. The exercises will take place next year.
    
"The United States welcomes and supports the rise of a prosperous and responsible China that helps solve regional and global problems," Hagel said.
     
"This morning, General Chang and I have affirmed that we will continue expanding our defence exchanges and joint exercises. Earlier this summer, for the first time, Chinese midshipmen joined in a multinational exchange program at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis," Hagel added.
    
Following the meeting Hagel said the two leaders welcomed this recent establishment of the new US-China cyber working group as a venue for addressing issues of mutual concern in the area of cyber.
        
General Chang said that the two countries agreed that the military-to-military relationship is an important component of their overall bilateral relations and that the current military relationship is gaining a good momentum.

(Agencies)

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